Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Call for Papers: 2009 British Institute of International and Comparative Law Conference

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law is seeking papers for their 2009 Annual Conference from new scholars.

The theme of the conference will be: 'Business and International Law' and will be held on June 5 2009 in London.

The conference is specifically seeking papers from new academics, graduate students, and new legal professionals.

More details can be found here: www.biicl.org.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fighting for Women's Reproductive Rights on a Global Scale

Slate has a good article titled, "Abortion Rights Go Global," written by Michelle Goldberg.

The article focuses on international legal instruments and bodies that are gradually recognizing a woman's right to control her reproductive health.

What interests me is the diversity of instruments mentioned.

The European Court of Human Rights is not surprising. Given that freedom of movement is one of the 'Four Freedoms' held central in the European Union, it was only a matter of time until women used to controlling their reproductive health in more secular countries ran into the procedural barriers erected in more non-secular nations - like Poland, Italy, & Ireland.

More interesting is the rise of cases being brought in other international settings. These include:

In this growing area of human rights law, a consensus is emerging about women's reproductive health and abortion.

States cannot deny a woman's right to an abortion, specifically in cases involving risks to the mother, rape, or incest.

What does this mean to the readers?

This standard is far from gaining worldwide acceptance.

Nations and non-governmental organizations are fighting this emerging standard.

I think it will be decades before this type of international jurisprudence affects people worldwide.

Still, it is encouraging to see the spread in recognition of women's rights in international forums and the use of these forums to improve the lives of women around the world.


U.S. Diplomacy Losing Power

Bolivia has the largest proven deposits of lithium in the world.

Almost half of the known lithium volume in the world is found in Bolivia.

Lithium is crucial in manufacturing batteries that are effective in electric cars. In order to break our addiction from polluting, rapidly depleting oil, large amounts of lithium is needed.

Bolivia is where the lithium is located.

Bolivia is also on unfriendly diplomatic terms with the United States.

Japanese and European companies are busily trying to strike deals to gain access to the lithium deposits.

“We know that Bolivia can become the Saudi Arabia of lithium,” said Francisco Quisbert, 64, the leader of Frutcas, a group of salt gatherers and quinoa farmers on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat.

What does this mean to the readers?

Readers in the U.S. will see a further decline in the U.S. automotive industry - with all the attending economic fallout - as this industry cannot provide quality, electric cars.

Foreign automotive companies - Honda, Toyota, BMW, etc. - with access to Bolivia's lithium reserves will trounce U.S. car companies. They will have the cheap, electric cars that consumers will demand when oil becomes increasingly more expensive.

Let's hope that the U.S. State Department's Krishna Urs can fix this rift in diplomacy with Bolivia.